A walker overheats the engine when June’s RV runs it over.
(Photo Credit: Ryan Green / AMC)

This review contains spoilers for episode 613, “J.D.”

On this week’s episode of Fear the Walking Dead, June goes in search of a lead on the Enders, and Dwight and Sherry struggle to reconnect.  This episode examines the intersection of forgiveness, redemption, bonds, coincidences, fate, and the importance of closure, which is a lot to cover well, but this episode manages to accomplish just that.


This episode opens after Grace’s ordeal, and her return to the dam village.  June arrives and asks to examine Grace, but Morgan won’t let her.  Morgan is clearly lashing out at June out of grief, but he uses John’s death as a cudgel to push June away.  Morgan tells June that she did the one thing John asked her not to do, and that is why Morgan does not want her there.  With Grace holed up in the church unwilling to talk to anyone, it is no wonder that Morgan is in full-on protective mode.  When Morgan calls June selfish, June walks away.  It is clear that June wants to be a part of the community, but she knows she will have to earn her way back in.  Any redemption starts with the Enders.


Dwight catches up with June outside the village, and he reminds her that he would not be alive if not for June and John’s actions.  June has no interest in a babysitter, but Dwight has no desire to let June feel isolated.  “Don’t you have a hospital to build?” Dwight asks.  June assures Dwight that Sarah is working on the hospital in her absence.  With a sigh, June admits that Morgan was right.

“I did the one thing John didn’t want me to do,” June says.  June tells Dwight that John had asked her to run away with him to the cabin and avoid Virginia.  With a guilty heart, June notes that John is dead and Virginia’s execution changed nothing.  June knows that she had been in the wrong, and the fact that she has been unable to read the letter that John had left her shows just how deep her guilt runs.  To read the letter would mean both that John is gone, and that the contents could make her feel unworthy of his final words for her.

When Sherry arrives on the scene, Dwight makes it clear that Sherry is not there for him.  Sherry’s loud and obvious search of the gas cans in a nearby truck, show she isn’t not there for him either.  Dwight tells Sherry that the Enders emptied the gas cans before they left one of their messages on the road.  Mid chat, someone opens fire.  Sherry, Dwight, and June take cover, but the sharpshooter skills of the man in the trees is impressive enough to pin the group down.  By the time the shooting stops, June pursues the assailant in the hopes that he will lead her to the Enders.

Dwight (Austin Amelio) asks June (Jenna Elfman) not to search alone for a lead on the Enders.
(Photo Credit: Ryan Green / AMC)


When June follows the tracks of the shooter, she finds an RV.  After a quick break-in, June discovers a murder board on the Enders.  There are polaroids of the graffiti at various crime scenes, and pinpoints on maps.  A click of a gun reveals the presence of the shooter (Keith Carradine).  June explains that they are on the same side, but the shooter is not interested in a partner or an intel sharing agreement.  The shooter warns June that if she keeps digging for information, “They’ll move up the plan.”  June again asks to share info, and the shooter asks June about her gun.

“The J.D. on the handle?  That’s me.  I’m John Dorie,” the shooter says.  Confronted with the reality that her husband’s estranged father is before her, June tells him that she is John’s wife.  June is surprised that John, Sr. does not ask about his son after forty years.  John says he knows his son is dead.  “Why else would you be here with that look on your face?  That gun on your hip?  Two wedding rings?  I was a cop.  I notice things,” John says.


Talk turns back to the Enders, and John explains that the head of the Enders is a man named Teddy Maddox, aka The Mortician.  Teddy, is John’s white whale.  An article on the board mentions Teddy’s life sentence, and John notes that he sought out Teddy’s body after the apocalypse, but the cell had been empty.  The phrase “The End is the Beginning,” had been something Teddy had used back in his heyday, and John had known it was no coincidence.  John points out that the embalmed walkers are a mark of Teddy, because that had been Teddy’s mode of killing in the pre-walker days as well.

“I should have killed him when I had the chance,” John grumbles.  John admits that he had framed Teddy to catch him, and that the guilt had eaten him up inside until he felt his family would be better off without him.  Basically, John Junior already knew this and had told June, so June lets John talk without interruption.

The talk inspires June to realize that Virginia’s right hand man Hill  is likely hiding out at the cabin.  John is adamant that he cannot return to the place where he had abandoned his son forty years previous.  But June argues that she both met and lost her husband in the same place and that if she can handle it, so can John. John’s fate is to confront his past.

Sherry (Christine Evangelista) tells Dwight that she needs address the root of her pain.
(Photo Credit: Ryan Green / AMC)


Dwight and Sherry chase after June on horseback.  For some reason, Sherry insists on running the horses quite literally into the ground.  When one horse drops from exhaustion, Sherry shoots it dead.  Dwight tells Sherry that he had been ready to give up on living all together, but fate had intervened.  John and June had saved his life and inspired him.

“Seeing two people separated made it seem possible that maybe, maybe we’d find each other,” Dwight said.  Dwight refuses to continue until Sherry tells him why she has been so squirrelly all day.  Sherry confesses that she had been anxious to secure gas for a vehicle to drive back East.  Without another word, Dwight understands that Sherry wants to kill Negan.  

The anger in Sherry had been building over time, and when Viriginia had died by June’s hand, Sherry admitted that her death had given her no peace.  Instead, Sherry is now focused on who she believes is the root of her discomfort.  Sherry commends Dwight on his ability to change back to the person he once was before Negan, and she laments that she cannot do the same.  “I don’t know if I want to,” Sherry adds.

Dwight assures Sherry that he is not the same person.  Dwight also stresses that Sherry doesn’t have to be the person she once was either.  In this moment, it is clear that Sherry wants to move forward but does not know how to with someone that is an anchor to her past.  Dwight clocks this, and he offers to start over.  After all this couple has been through, the quests for revenge, the drive to find a safe space, there is no way forward together with that baggage.  Relieved to have the anchor removed, Sherry agrees to start over with Dwight.


After a weak effort by John to save June from danger by locking her in a store, John goes on to the cabin alone.  While soaking up the nostalgia of the cabin and the contents of Junior’s life in it, John drops his guard long enough for Hill to get the drop on him.  The tables quickly turn, and John questions Hill about the Enders.  Hill admits that Virginia had had him chasing down information, but he only knew that the Enders wanted to kill everybody.

When John is distracted by the sight of his son’s grave, Hill takes advantage and shoots John through the back.  Hill’s head takes the next bullet, which originates from June’s gun.  June has finally caught up, and she uses the medical supplies from when she had hoped to save her husband to save his father.  Is it coincidence or fate that the supplies were right where they needed to be?

J.D. (Keith Carradine) faces his past and his fate.
(Photo Credit: Ryan Green / AMC)


When Dwight and Sherry arrive in the truck that Junior had fixed up before his death, John is awestruck at the sight of it.  Another question of coincidence or fate.  Reminiscing, John tells June that he had planned to fix the truck up with Junior and give it to Junior as his first car.  John says he left Junior because he cared about him.  And John admits he returned once to see his son, but when he had seen the look of happiness on Junior’s face, John had realized that he could not dim that joy.

“John had this light about him,” John says about his son.  June, like the audience, smiles because we know that light well.  Junior was the rare bright spot in this undead world that gave us hope.  When John expresses his sadness that he can not say all that he had wanted to say to his son, June suggests a memorial.  At the graveside, June finally opens her letter.  The letter talks of forgiveness and doing good in life so that on has a life worth living.

The letter also gives John the words he most needed to hear.  Junior notes that he understood why his father left, and that he forgives him.  At Junior’s grave, his wife, father, and the people most inspired by his life can say a proper goodbye.  Each of the four people at this grave had their own demons to fight.  June had rage.  John, Sr. had shame.  Dwight and Sherry had to come to grips with the reality of their relationship now.  John Dorie, Jr. gave all four kindness and peace one last time.  With forgiveness of the self and those in your past, only then can you truly move on to fight the real demons in the world.


When June returns to the dam village, Grace is better.  Morgan does not apologize for his earlier roughness, but his resistance to June’s presence is more reasonable than it had been.  June introduces Morgan to John’s father, and Morgan lights up.  They have secured a lead on the Enders, and June has done what she had set out to do.  June needed to prove that she was not a lone wolf, and she has.  

“What you did today is what John would have wanted,” Morgan says.  June takes the opening, and she asks for another chance.  Everyone needs forgiveness and some kind of closure.  Sometimes our ability to get that is dependent on fate or coincidence.  And sometimes, we need to do good so that when we die, we have lived a life worth living.  Just like John Dorie.


I think this is one of the best episodes of the year.  The script was written by Nick Bernardone and Jacob Pinion, and the dialogue is thoughtful and moves the story along.  On top of that, this episode marks the directing debut on FTWD for Aisha Tyler. Tyler nailed the drama. It often gets lost that the shows in the Walking Dead Universe are dramas set in the world of the undead instead of a straight up horror series. I love gore as much as the next, but if the characters aren’t compelling, there is only so long you can watch. The episode moved crisply and delivered an emotional punch. If this is what Tyler does in her debut, I would love to see her do more on the series.

I did not like Sherry’s indifference to the poor horse she killed, but considering her past trauma, it is a miracle Sherry has space for empathy at all.  The philosophical aspects of the emotional trauma of a world like this are endlessly fascinating to me, so I enjoyed that the show took the time to explore some of that.  John was a character that brought hope to the show.  So it was fitting that even in death John’s words allowed June and his father to forgive themselves. If you liked John Dorie, this is a nice cap on his story.


  • We learned the J.D. revolvers have been in the Dorie family for 6 generations
  • John appears to be disappointed that his son became a cop
  • John is obsessed with Teddy as the threat – the undead are merely an inconvenience
  • Did John take his murder board with him?  Or did that go back to the village?

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